Archive | November, 2015

Fear wins?

21 Nov

 

I have spent much time this week thinking about Syrian refugees. For a time, I bought into the argument that we need to slow down or even put the brakes on the idea of allowing them into the United States. After the events in France a week ago, why not be careful? Thankfully, my smarter less scared side has prevailed. It has been interesting to see how the tone in the Presidential race has changed. Syrian refugees and immigration have taken over the debate. Fear, it seems, always wins. If we let them in, how can we be sure they won’t do here what they did in France? Well, how can we be sure it was them? I keep thinking about our history. A nation of immigrants. Unless you are native American, your people came here from somewhere. They wanted a better life. Don’t these people from Syria want to come here for a better life? Yes, make sure they are vetted. Don’t we do that anyway? I’m pretty sure those that come here legally are as safe or safer than many of us already here. It’s a scary time. We are going into the holidays with a new sense that we are not as safe as we thought. It may well get worse. I think it probably will. There will be other attacks. Maybe even an attack on the U.S. I trust the people in charge of that are doing everything they can to keep it from happening. They can’t catch everything though. Something will get by. When it does, we will do what we do. Deal with it. Fix it. Make it better. To deny someone a better life in our country because of that, though? Seems like the wrong way to handle it. Allow them the opportunity to come here…legally. As for the terrorists, we know that they will try and get here…illegally. We can fix that. We can watch for that. We know how to do that. Let’s not use fear to shape the debate. Let’s not allow fear to win. Not this time.

Paris

14 Nov

I have spent my career reporting the news. It has now been thirty-five years. So, when big events happen, I tend to look at them differently. The “news instincts” kick in. How would I cover this? If I were on the air and this crossed the wires, what would I say? It was not like that when I learned of the terrorist attacks on Paris. I was sitting in a movie theatre watching the latest James Bond movie. I didn’t like the movie. Thought it was too long. Too cerebral for a “Bond” movie. And, just as I thought of the other recent Bond movies…too real and not a lot of fun.
So, when my phone starting vibrating with news alerts, I looked at them. In disbelief at what was happening in France. You felt immediately that this was big. Terrorism. Probably Islamic State. Why once again, France? Does it get bigger? London? New York? That’s the news guy thinking. After the movie ended, I played newsman and told my friends what had happened. We went to dinner and I kept looking at my phone. The rising death toll. My best friend, Chad, a cop, said, “You know this number is only going to go up.” He was right. We finished dinner. I came home and did what I had wanted to do since I got the first AP alert. Turn on the TV. Wished for Peter Jennings or Walter Cronkite. Settled on MSNBC and Brian Williams in his “new role.” He is still the best, by the way. A great talker. I realize that’s probably what caused his problems. I have forgiven him. Trust him again. Thanks to my phone and all the news sites to which I subscribe, I knew the story. Brian didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know. This phone is going to be the end of my business, by the way. I decided to just go to sleep.
As I lay there, I couldn’t help but think what it must have been like in Paris. At a soccer game. At a restaurant. At a concert. Friday night in one of the world’s beautiful cities. People just out having fun. Then, this. I could only think about that “too long, too real” James Bond movie. The Bond that reflects the times. I decided I don’t like this James Bond. Not because it’s Daniel Craig. He’s a great James Bond. I just don’t like his place in the James Bond timeline. Too real. Longed for simpler times. Like The Cold War and Sean Connery.
I decided that I need to start putting my phone away at a movie. At church. Just turn it off. Not happening. The newsman in me won’t let that happen. As Cronkite said, “And that’s the way it is.”